No to temporary marriages

Walaa Hawari; 23/6/09; (2 Items)

Temporary marriages are forbidden in Islam, declared Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, while answering a viewer’s question on Channel One of Saudi TV. Thinking the mufti was delivering a verdict on “misyar” marriages, many newspapers and websites were quick to point out that the mufti’s ruling was contrary to a fatwa delivered by 60 Islamic scholars at a Muslim World League meeting sanctioning misyar marriages. Misyar is a form of marriage that fulfills all legal requisites of a normal union, but spouses are not committed to living together in the same house and the woman can give up some of her rights, such as monetary support. The misunderstanding was perhaps caused by the channel running a banner on the screen saying that the grand mufti forbids misyar marriage, whereas he was only discussing temporary “misfar” marriages, in which men marry while staying abroad with the intention of divorcing their wives when they return home.


Nikah Misyar or “travellers’ marriage” is the Sunni Muslim contract carried out via the normal contractual procedure, with the specificity that the wife gives up several of her rights by her own free will, such as living with the husband, equal division of nights between wives in cases of polygamy, rights to housing, and maintenance money (“nafaqa”). The couple continue to live separately from each other, as before their contract, and see each other to fulfil their needs in a permissible (halaal) manner when they please. Misyar is not considered a valid form of marriage by the Shi’a sect, and as such is deemed forbidden (haraam).